Syria central bank lifts dollar sale restrictions

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The central bank in war-torn Syria has lifted restrictions on the sale of dollars to individuals, state news agency SANA said Wednesday, in a bid to curb black market trade.

“Citizens may purchase foreign currency at banks, for non-commercial purposes, according to the rates fixed by the central bank,” the bank’s governor Adib Mayaleh said, quoted by SANA.

Allowing banks to sell foreign currency was part of “efforts by the central bank in the domestic market to stabilize the price of the Syrian pound and stop speculation on the exchange rate.

“The central bank will continue to finance imports of basic goods through banks operating in Syria at preferential rates,” said Mayaleh.

The agency said the central bank had sold dollars to 10 private banking institutions at the rate of 173.27 Syrian pounds to the dollar “to cover the needs of the local market between August 13-19”.

Before Syria’s bloody uprising erupted, the exchange rate was about 50 pounds to the greenback.

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